Home Waynesboro is good at doing nothing: Now we have somebody who will blame it all on the libs

Waynesboro is good at doing nothing: Now we have somebody who will blame it all on the libs

Chris Graham
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You had to know it was going to happen – that the new Republican majority on Waynesboro City Council was going to make the Facebook talk show conspiracy theory guy, Jim Wood, the vice mayor.

The positions of mayor and vice mayor in a city-manager government are worth about as much as the proverbial warm pitcher of spit.

Somebody has to bang the gavel at the City Council meetings. That’s the mayor.

And if the mayor can’t be there, the somebody else who bangs the gavel is the vice mayor.

Banging the gavel, and being at the ribbon-cuttings for this or that new business opening up downtown or in the latest new strip mall, that’s pretty much the job.

But then, there’s also the message being sent by City Council in putting a wingnut like Jim Wood in that ceremonial role.

The message, pretty much, is, yeah, we have a lot of work to do, a lot of challenges that need addressing, but, no, we’re still not taking any of this seriously.

Wood fashions himself a poor man’s Alex Jones, speaking conservative truth to power on his Facebook talk show, owning the libs, complaining about the 2020 presidential election and the rest.

This Jim Wood is now one of the two leaders of the governing body that not only makes decisions about how the city spends its money on schools and emergency services, but also meets with representatives of business and industry looking at Waynesboro as a possible location for investing their time, money and resources.

Waynesboro faces immense challenges across the board. Our K-12 education system has, for decades, languished from lack of commitment from a long line of do-nothing Republican city leaders, and we have a similar issue with a lack of commitment to our infrastructure, which is crumbling around us, and the police force, which is having to make do without a third of its workforce because we can’t figure out a way to pay people enough to want to work here.

The one advantage that we have is proximity to the burgeoning Charlottesville-Albemarle County economic engine, which, if we’re smart, we figure out a way to tap into, to work to attract business and industry that wants to locate nearby to Charlottesville and Albemarle while also taking advantage of our lower costs of doing business.

This gets us to the main problem with having a vice mayor going on his Facebook talk show each week to joke about a guy hitting Democrats in the head with a hammer: the people wanting to be able to locate business and industry proximate to the Charlottesville-Albemarle area aren’t the kind of people who want to be in business with a guy who thinks it’s appropriate to joke about a guy hitting Democrats in the head with a hammer.

If you need any evidence of what kind of impact this kind of thing has on business, look at Twitter, which was purchased last year by the world’s one-time wealthiest man, Elon Musk, whose efforts to claim ownership of the libs on his social media site have cost him more than half of his net worth in just the past three months, and have investors in two of his companies – Twitter and Tesla, the electric-car manufacturer – wondering what the bottom might look like.

We in Waynesboro already know what the bottom looks like.

It’s 40 years and counting since our heyday as the manufacturing hub of the Blue Ridge, and all we have to show for the past four decades is a line of easily forgettable white guys who represented the interests of those already had theirs, and whose main accomplishment was making sure nothing was done to improve things so that those who didn’t have theirs could get theirs.

One thing you can say about Jim Wood: he won’t be another of those forgettable white guys.

But he’ll still do the bidding of those who have a vested interest in keeping things the way they are.

The only difference will be style.

No doubt the first thing he wants us to do is have Waynesboro declare itself to be a Second Amendment sanctuary city, since that’s what got him into running for local office in the first place, back in 2020.

That ought to distract us from doing anything otherwise meaningful for a few weeks, maybe a few months, if he plays it right.

And if we can use his weekly talk show rants as a guide, the new vice mayor will also make it a point to use his seat on the dais to stick it to the libs in city government, maybe thunder about whatever conservative talking point nonsense got his attention on his mobile phone on his way to the meeting.

With all the challenges we have facing us as a city, this is exactly what we need – elected leadership that is bound and determined to continue doing nothing, and then complain that nothing is being done.


Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].